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Pyongyang claims to have successfully launched intercontinental ballistic missile

July 04,2017
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South Koreans watch a news program at Seoul Station Tuesday in which North Korean state-run TV announces that it successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that morning. [YONHAP]
North Korea claimed Tuesday that it successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that morning.

The Hwasong-14 flew 933 kilometers (580 miles) for 39 minutes after peaking at an altitude of 2,802 kilometers before splashing into the East Sea, North Korea said through its official mouthpiece, the Korean Central News Agency.

The test was carried out on the direct order of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The regime asserted it could now target "any place in this world" and finally put an end to Washington's "nuclear war threat."

An ICBM has a range of more than 5,500 kilometers. The distance between North Korea and Alaska is about 5,700 kilometers.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile was fired from Banghyon Air Base in North Pyongan Province, in the western area of North Korea, and flew east before landing in waters between the North and Japan, but did not confirm what type of missile it was.

The U.S. Pacific Command said in an earlier statement it appeared to have been an intermediate-range ballistic missile, a class that has the capacity to fly between 3,000 and 5,500 kilometers.

North Korea carried out 11 missile tests this year, the most recent on June 8, when it fired several short-range antiship cruise missiles off its eastern coast. The missiles flew about 200 kilometers after peaking at an altitude of 6,560 feet before landing in waters between North Korea and Japan.

The latest missile launch came shortly after South Korean President Moon Jae-in returned from a summit meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington at which the leaders agreed to bolster their bilateral alliance for a "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

Before North Korea made the ICBM announcement, Trump tweeted: “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!"

Moon condemned the North's missile test and expressed his "deep disappointment and regret" that Pyongyang carried it out shortly after he and his American counterpart called on the regime to refrain from any further military provocations. Moon said he would raise the issue in the upcoming Group of 20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]